The NBA: Injured Lin-chpin

It looks like Jeremy Lin will be watching the
2012 NBA Playoffs, instead of playing in it.

 *All images are from the Associated Press.

 “It’s not like a career-ending thing, or it’s not something that will bother me. Once it’s fixed, it’s fixed, it’s the most simple surgery you can have and so I’m more concerned about the season.” – Jeremy Lin on his left knee surgery and missing out on the 2012 Playoffs.

The Knicks are going to have it tough as the season winds up, and even if they do make the playoffs, their chances look bleak.

Thanks to Jeremy Lin’s left knee and its impending surgery.

He’s expected to be out for about 6 weeks, just enough time for the season to end. Just enough time for the Milwaukee Bucks to steal 8th spot from New York. Just enough time for the Knicks to get booted by the Chicago Bulls in case the boys from the Big Apple do make the postseason.

Looks like Lin’s seemingly fairy tale season will succumb to New York’s seemingly indiscriminating curse.

And the guy who hates it most is Lin himself.

We all know how he has become a super-sensation. We all know how he moved from his brother’s couch to his own pad. We all know how fast his jerseys have sold (the real ones and the bootleg ones).

More importantly, we all know how he singlehandedly turned the NYC franchise around.

Now that same franchise will have to turn to the likes of Baron Davis and JR Smith for backcourt production. They can sure produce the points, but can they control the pace the way Lin did?

And, yeah, Amar’e Stoudemire is in sick bay, too. So that’s two big pieces for the Knicks who won’t be around when they try to secure that last playoff spot.

Oh but Melo is still around, right? So are Tyson Chandler and Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert, right?

Yes, but none of them is Jeremy Lin. none of them ties this Knicks team as tight as Lin did. None of them commands the same adoration.

Jeremy Lin has become the linchpin of this franchise, and that linchpin could be out just enough time for the Knicks to see their season come to an end.

After the JUMP, March 30-31 and April 1, 2012 stat-stuffers:

March 30, 2012 Game Recaps:
DEN over CHA, 99-88
Arron Afflalo scored 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, as Denver continued its push for a playoff spot with a victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Corey Brewer added 17 points in a reserve role for the Nuggets, who hold the eighth spot in the Western Conference and have the same 28-24 record as Houston, which is in seventh. Denver bounced back from a nine-point loss at Toronto Wednesday night and is 2-3 on a seven- game road trip with upcoming stops in Orlando and New Orleans. The Bobcats, losers of six in a row, were led by Gerald Henderson's 21 points.

MIA over TOR, 113-101
Chris Bosh scored 30 points against his former team as the Miami Heat used a late surge to push past the Toronto Raptors. Dwyane Wade also scored 30 points, LeBron James netted 26 to go with nine assists and Bosh grabbed eight rebounds for the Heat, who won for the second consecutive night. Bosh and Wade combined for 25 of the Heat's 30 fourth-quarter points. Miami improved to 10-0 against the Atlantic Division this season with its seventh straight win over the Raptors. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 28 points, Andrea Bargnani scored 27 and Jose Calderon handed out 16 assists for Toronto, which has lost six of eight.

WAS over PHI, 97-76
Cartier Martin made four three-pointers en route to 20 points, as the Washington Wizards dominated the Philadelphia 76ers. Jordan Crawford added 17 points for the Wizards, who snapped a five-game skid. Nene tallied 16 points and eight rebounds before leaving in the fourth quarter with a left fascia injury. Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams both scored 14 points for the Sixers, who had won five in a row against Washington. Evan Turner donated 11 points.

ATL over NYK, 100-90
Willie Green scored 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Atlanta Hawks snapped a two-game losing streak Friday night by knocking off the red-hot New York Knicks. Green was 6-of-7 in the fourth, including a three-pointer from the left corner that stretched Atlanta's lead to 10. Joe Johnson scored 28 points and Josh Smith had 23 for the Hawks, who are No. 6 in the Eastern Conference but now just a half-game behind idle Indiana for the fifth spot. Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points -- his highest total in almost three months -- and Iman Shumpert had 25 for the Knicks, who lost for only the second time in 10 games since Mike D'Antoni resigned and Mike Woodson was named interim coach. Guard Jeremy Lin missed his third straight game because of a sore knee and the Knicks also continued to play without injured forward Amare Stoudemire.

MIL over CLE, 121-84
Brandon Jennings scored 28 points to go with six assists and the Bucks cruised past the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday. Ersan Ilyasova recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Mike Dunleavy added 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range to give the Bucks their second straight win. Milwaukee now sits just 1 1/2 games behind the New York Knicks, who fell to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Rookie of the Year candidate Kyrie Irving had another stellar performance with 29 points on a career-high six three-pointers, while Alonzo Gee added 19 and Tristan Thompson netted 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but the Cavs continued to falter, dropping their sixth straight contest.

CHI over DET, 83-71
Luol Deng scored 20 points to help the Bulls continue their dominance in the Eastern Conference with a dismantling of the Pistons on Friday. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer each recorded double- doubles, with Noah going for 19 points and 12 rebounds and Boozer finished with 13 and 11 for Chicago, which won its second straight game and ninth in its last 11. The Bulls' NBA-best 42-11 record includes a 31-7 mark against Eastern Conference foes. Brandon Knight paced the Pistons with 16 points while Greg Monroe netted 14 to go with 10 boards. Tayshaun Prince also tallied 14 points in defeat for Detroit, which saw a two-game winning streak snapped with their sixth loss in eight tries. Chicago, playing without Derrick Rose for the ninth consecutive game, improved to 14-5 without the reigning league MVP and notched their 14th win in a row over the Pistons.

HOU over MEM, 98-89
Goran Dragic scored a season-high 25 points and dished out seven assists, as the Houston Rockets held off the Memphis Grizzlies. Courtney Lee added 17 points for the Rockets, who have won 12 in a row against Memphis in Space City. Chase Budinger and Luis Scola donated 13 and 11 points, respectively. Marcus Camby tallied seven points, 16 boards and six blocks for Houston, which shot 52.1 percent from the field and 7-of-14 from three-point range. Rudy Gay ended with 20 points for the Grizzlies, who had a brief two-game winning streak snapped. Marc Gasol added 19 and nine rebounds.

BOS over MIN, 100-79
For the first time this season, Boston is alone atop the Atlantic Division. Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Celtics beat Minnesota. Boston's win, combined with Philadelphia's 97-76 loss at Washington, moved the Celtics a game ahead of the 76ers in the division. Paul Pierce contributed 21 points and Rajon Rondo tallied 17 assists, as the Celtics won their fourth in a row. They've also beaten Minnesota 10 straight times, and now look forward to a home game against the Miami Heat Sunday afternoon. Kevin Love had 22 points and 11 rebounds, but went just 5-of-18 from the field as Minnesota faltered by shooting 34.7 percent.

DAL over ORL, 100-98
Dirk Nowitzki knocked down the shot and let his tongue hang out. The Dallas Mavericks are leaving Florida with the taste of victory in their mouths. Nowitzki banked in a turn-around jumper over Hedo Turkoglu with 5.9 seconds left Friday night and the Mavericks held on for a win over the Orlando Magic, stealing a game they trailed by as many as 15 points.A night earlier, the Mavs lost by 21 to the Heat in their first trip to Miami since capturing the title there last year. They escaped with the win Friday after Turkoglu bricked a three-pointer at the other end and Ryan Anderson missed a one-handed put back before the buzzer.

SAC over UTA, 104-103
DeMarcus Cousins' free throw with 3.8 seconds remaining lifted the Sacramento Kings over the Utah Jazz. Despite getting stitches under his left eyebrow, Cousins ended with 27 points and 14 rebounds for the Kings. Marcus Thornton added 26 points and six boards. Isaiah Thomas donated 19 points and six assists for Sacramento, which snapped a four-game skid. Al Jefferson ended with 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Jazz, who had a seven-game home winning streak stopped. Gordon Hayward had 19 points.

NJN over GSW, 102-100
Gerald Green delivered the go-ahead basket in the final minute and Deron Williams helped the Nets rally from a 19-point third quarter deficit to post a win over the Golden State Warriors. Williams had 20 assists, one off a career-high, as New Jersey erased a 14- point hole early in the fourth to post back-to-back victories for the first time since March 7-9. Gerald Wallace totaled 24 points, 18 rebounds and six steals, and his lone block of the night came on Charles Jenkins in the waning seconds to help the Nets end a six-game road skid against the Warriors.

LAC over POR, 98-97
Chris Paul scored 20 points, none bigger than his go-ahead layup with 5.0 seconds left in the game to give the Clippers a win over Portland at Staples Center on Friday. Jamal Crawford gave Portland a 97-96 edge with his jumper from the right elbow with 13.9 ticks on the clock, but Paul responded with his driving layup at the other end. Wesley Matthews took the final shot for the Trail Blazers, but his layup was off the mark as time expired. Paul added 14 assists, while Blake Griffin and Randy Foye also scored 20 points apiece. Griffin grabbed 13 rebounds, helping the Clippers earn their sixth straight home victory. LaMarcus Aldridge sat out with a sprained left elbow, but J.J. Hickson filled in with a season-high 29 points to go with 13 rebounds for Portland. Nicolas Batum added 18 points and Crawford finished with 14, but the Blazers dropped their third straight on the road.

March 31, 2012 Game Recaps:
LAL over NOH, 88-85
Despite one of the worst shooting performances of his career, Kobe Bryant hit the shot that mattered most with the game on the line. Bryant rose up from the left wing and nailed a go- ahead three-pointer with 20.2 seconds remaining, lifting the Los Angeles Lakers past the New Orleans Hornets. Jason Smith had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but his three-point attempt was blocked by Pau Gasol. Bryant, who missed his first 15 shots from the floor, didn't record his first point until there was 7:30 left in the fourth quarter. He finished with 11 points on 3-of-21 shooting from the floor. Bryant never missed more than 11 straight shots to start a contest until Saturday. Bryant's previous high of most consecutive misfires was 13 against San Antonio on December 28, 2010. Gasol netted 21 points to go with 11 rebounds and Andrew Bynum added 19 points and 10 boards for Los Angeles, which has won four of its last six games. Ramon Sessions had 10 points and 10 assists. Jarrett Jack scored 18 points to go with 10 assists while Smith added 17 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which has lost four of its past five contests.

DET over CHA, 110-107 (OT)
Will Bynum buried a three-pointer from the left wing with 15.7 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime and the Pistons held off the Bobcats. Jonas Jerebko gave the Pistons a 105-103 lead with 50.5 seconds left in the extra session and the home team led 108-104 before Reggie Williams connected on a trey to cut the margin to one with 6.4 ticks on the clock. Tayshaun Prince hit two at the free throw line to make it a three-point game and Byron Mullens and Williams both came up empty on potential game-tying threes as the Pistons secured the victory. Prince poured in 24 points and Jerebko finished with 18 to help the Pistons earn their third victory in their last four games. Bynum added 17 points in the win. Mullens led the way for Charlotte, scoring 20 points, but the Bobcats dropped their seventh straight.

PHI over ATL, 95-90
Elton Brand scored 13 of his season-high 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Atlanta Hawks. Brand also pulled down 10 rebounds, dished out five assists and blocked three shots for Philadelphia, which swept the season series against Atlanta for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Andre Iguodala added 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Josh Smith led all scorers with 34 points for Atlanta, which has lost three of its last four games.

NYK over CLE, 91-75
Banged up and bruised, the New York Knicks continued their playoff push with a strong defensive effort at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Hours after learning that standout point guard Jeremy Lin would be sidelined for the rest of the regular season, the Knicks took a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. J.R. Smith led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds and five steals, Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points, and Tyson Chandler finished with 14 points and 12 boards in the win for New York, the fourth in its last five. The Cavs were paced by 13 points and seven assists from Antawn Jamison. Cleveland, missing star rookie guard Kyrie Irving with a shoulder issue, dropped its seventh straight.

MEM over MIL, 99-95
O.J. Mayo scored 24 points off the bench and three Grizzlies recorded point-rebound double-doubles as Memphis knocked off Milwaukee. Rudy Gay scored 17 points and grabbed 10 boards, Marc Gasol had 13 and 15 and Marreese Speights posted 10 and 10 for the Grizzlies, who have won three of four. Ersan Ilyasova tallied 20 points and 16 rebounds and Brandon Jennings netted 24 points for the Bucks, who have lost three of five. Memphis moved to within a half-game of idle Dallas for the fifth playoff spot in the Western Conference, while Milwaukee dropped 2 1/2 games behind New York for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.

SAS over IND, 112-103
Tim Duncan posted a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds to lift the Spurs to a victory over the Indiana Pacers. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili tallied 18 points apiece and Gary Neal chipped in 11 to help the Spurs earn their seventh straight victory. Danny Granger and Paul George each poured in 18 points for the Pacers, while Roy Hibbert and David West netted 15 points apiece. Indiana has dropped two of its last three contests.

NJN over SAC, 111-99
Anthony Morrow connected on six three- pointers en route to 24 points and the Nets took down the Kings. Deron Williams poured in 19 points and handed out 15 assists, Gerald Wallace netted 18 points and Kris Humphries recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who secured their season-high third straight victory. Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 23 points after missing Friday's victory due to back spasms. Jason Thompson scored 10 points and grabbed 10 boards, while DeMarcus Cousins finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Sacramento has dropped five of its last six contests.

LAC over UTA, 105-96
Blake Griffin scored 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out six assists as the Los Angeles Clippers took down the Utah Jazz. Chris Paul tallied 26 points and Randy Foye supplied 17 for the Clippers, who swept a five-game homestand. They won five straight games for the first time since November 2006, and have won seven straight at home overall. The win improved their record to 11-9 in March, as they became the first NBA team in 45 years to play 20 games in one calendar month. Al Jefferson paced the Jazz with 26 points and Paul Millsap notched 18 in defeat, their third in a row. Utah lost the season series against Los Angeles for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

April 1, 2012 Game Recaps:
OKC over CHI, 92-78
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 53 points in just three quarters of play as the Oklahoma City Thunder routed the Chicago Bulls. Westbrook netted 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the floor while Durant registered 26 points on 11-of-16 efficiency for the Thunder, who have won six straight and moved within a game of Chicago for the NBA's best record. Durant and Westbrook sat on the bench for the entire fourth quarter as Oklahoma City took a 29-point advantage into the final frame. Playing without Derrick Rose for the 10th straight game due to a groin injury, the Bulls shot just 33.0 percent from the field. John Lucas led Chicago with 19 points. The Bulls fell to 14-6 this season without Rose in the lineup and 7-3 during his current absence.

BOS over MIA, 91-72
Rajon Rondo notched his NBA-leading fifth triple-double of the season with 16 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds as the Boston Celtics won their fifth straight game with a thumping of the Miami Heat. Rondo has at least 10 assists in 13 straight games, the longest active streak in the league. Paul Pierce added 23 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, who outscored the Heat 31-12 in the third quarter to blow the game open. Boston has won eight consecutive home games and are 15-5 since the All-Star break. The Celtics lead the Atlantic Division by a game over Philadelphia. LeBron James netted 23 points while Dwyane Wade provided 15 points and eight rebounds for Miami, which suffered its most lopsided defeat of the season. The Heat are 3-7 in their last 10 road contests. James and Wade were 17-of-37 from the field while the rest of the squad was just 14-of-52. Chris Bosh tallied just four points on 2-of-11 shooting from the floor.

DEN over ORL, 104-101
Ty Lawson scored 25 points and handed out nine assists and the Nuggets survived Orlando's rally in the closing moments to pull out a victory. The Magic were playing without All-Star center Dwight Howard due to a lower back strain, but got 27 points from Jameer Nelson and 20 from Ryan Anderson to stay close. They had a chance to tie things at the buzzer, but Jason Richardson missed a running three- pointer to send Orlando to a third straight loss. Richardson was 0-for-6 from behind the arc and finished with just six points. Denver shot 56 percent from the field in the absence of Howard, the three-time NBA defensive player of the year. Arron Afflalo scored 22 points and reserves Al Harrington and Andre Miller added 18 and 15, respectively as the Nuggets improved to 3-3 on their seven-game road trip.

TOR over WAS, 99-92
Andrea Bargnani had 18 points and eight rebounds as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards. Jose Calderon added 15 points and eight assists while DeMar DeRozan also netted 15 for Toronto, which has won two of its last three games. John Wall scored 13 points and dished out 11 assists for the Wizards, who have lost six of their last seven contests. Jordan Crawford led Washington with 18 points and Kevin Seraphin poured in 16.

IND over HOU, 104-102 (OT)
Danny Granger scored 32 points, helped by 6- of-8 shooting from behind the arc, and blocked Chandler Parsons' potential game-winner at the buzzer, as the Pacers escaped Toyota Center with an overtime win over the Rockets. Roy Hibbert totaled 15 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers, who were coming off a loss at San Antonio on Saturday. Goran Dragic had a team-high 22 points for Houston, which has split its last 10 games. The Rockets, who were outscored at the free throw line, 24-5, are a game ahead of Utah for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

PHX over NOH, 92-75
Jared Dudley recorded a game-high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds as the Phoenix Suns handled the New Orleans Hornets. Channing Frye added 14 points and 11 rebounds while Shannon Brown contributed 16 points and Steve Nash dished out 14 assists as the Suns snapped a two-game slide. They are 1 1/2 games behind Houston for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff chase. Jason Smith and Marco Belinelli scored 14 points apiece to pace New Orleans, which dropped its third straight game to end a five-game road trip with a 1-4 record.

POR over MIN, 119-106
LaMarcus Aldridge outplayed fellow All-Star Kevin Love in the low post with a 26-point, eight-rebound effort, carrying the Trail Blazers to a victory over the Timberwolves. Aldridge sat out Portland's previous game with a sprained left elbow and looked well-rested as he hit 10-of-17 from the field and held Love to 7-of-16 shooting. Nicolas Batum netted 24 points and Wesley Matthews added 18 for Portland, which has alternated wins and losses over its last eight games. Love finished with 26 points and nine rebounds, but Minnesota lost for the third time in four games.

LAL over GSW, 120-112
One night after a horrendous shooting performance, Kobe Bryant returned to MVP form with 40 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat Golden State. Despite losing Andrew Bynum to an ankle injury, the Lakers posted their fifth win in seven contests. They also beat the Warriors for the 15th time in the last 16 meetings. Bynum suffered a moderate sprain of his left ankle late in the first quarter. He rolled the ankle by landing on the foot of teammate Josh McRoberts while contesting a shot from David Lee. X-rays taken at the Staples Center were negative. He will be evaluated Monday. Pau Gasol provided a big lift after Bynum left and ended with 26 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Ramon Sessions contributed a season-best 23 points along with nine assists. Lee had 27 points for the Warriors, who lost their fifth in a row.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
March 30: Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – 36
March 31: Josh Smith (ATL) – 34
April 1: Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 40

Melo will have to step up BIG TIME if the Knicks
are to continue making waves as the season winds up.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
March 30: Gerald Wallace (NJN) – 18
March 31: Ersan Ilyasova (MIL) – 16
April 1: Glen Davis (ORL) – 16

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
March 30: Deron Williams (NJN) – 20
March 31: Deron Williams (NJN) – 15
April 1: Rajon Rondo (BOS) & Steve Nash (PHX) – 14

Deron Williams will be the one of the biggest free agents
this coming 2012 offseason.

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
March 30: Gerald Wallace (NJN) – 6
March 31: Josh Smith (ATL), Drew Gooden (MIL), & Iman Shumpert (NYK) – 5
April 1: Russell Westbrook (OKC) & Marcus Camby (HOU) – 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
March 30: Marcus Camby (HOU) – 6
March 31: Roy Hibbert (IND) – 4
April 1: Serge Ibaka (OKC) & Roy Hibbert (IND) – 5

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
March 30: Kyrie Irving (CLE) – 6
March 31: Anthony Morrow (NJN) – 6
April 1: Danny Granger (IND) – 6

March 30, 2012 First Five
C – Chris Bosh (MIA) – 30pts, 8rebs, 3asts, 3blks, 1stl
F – Al Jefferson (UTA) – 27pts, 16rebs, 2asts, 2blks, 1stl
F – Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – 36pts, 9rebs, 5stls, 2asts, 2blks
G – Gerald Wallace (NJN) – 24pts, 18rebs, 6stls, 5asts, 1blk
G – Dwyane Wade (MIA) – 30pts, 6rebs, 6asts, 3stls, 1blk

Honorable Mention:
Brandon Jennings (MIL) – 28pts, 6asts, 4stls, 3 treys, 2rebs
JJ Hickson (POR) – 29pts, 13rebs, 2asts
Chris Paul (LAC) – 20pts, 14 asts, 4stls, 1reb

Daily Zap:

March 31, 2012 First Five
C – Ersan Ilyasova (MIL) – 20pts, 16rebs, 3asts, 2stls, 2blks
F – Elton Brand (PHI) – 25pts, 10rebs, 5asts, 3blks
F – Josh Smith (ATL) – 34pts, 9rebs, 5asts, 2stls, 1blk
G – Deron Williams (NJN) – 19pts, 15rebs, 6asts, 3stls
G – Chris Paul (LAC) – 26pts, 6asts, 3rebs

Honorable Mention:
Blake Griffin (LAC) – 24pts, 8rebs, 6asts, 1stl, 1blk
Tyreke Evans (SAC) – 23pts, 6rebs, 5asts, 4stls
Tayshaun Prince (DET) – 24pts, 9rebs, 4asts

Daily Zap:

April 1, 2012 First Five
C – Serge Ibaka (OKC) – 9pts, 6rebs, 5blks
F – Kevin Durant (OKC) – 26pts, 10rebs, 4asts, 1stl, 1blk
F – Paul Pierce (BOS) – 23pts, 7rebs, 3asts, 2stls
G – Russell Westbrook (OKC) – 27pts, 5asts, 4stls, 3rebs
G – Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 16pts, 14asts, 11rebs

Jet-Zero and KD are heating up just in time to secure the
top seed in the Western Conference.

Honorable Mention:
Brandon Bass (BOS) – 16pts, 10rebs, 1ast, 1stl
LeBron James (MIA) – 23pts, 4rebs, 1blk
Dwyane Wade (MIA) – 15pts, 8rebs, 3asts, 3blks, 1stlbl

Daily Zap:


*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.
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